One dark and snowy night, 17-year-old Juliet "Jules" Cavanaugh was kicked out of her home by her mother and left to fend for herself. Desperate, with no place else to go, Jules finds herself at the family restaurant of her best friend, Danny Lunden. Hoping to get out of the cold and find something to eat at Lunden's Tavern, she runs into the family's patriarch, Gus, who recognized that Jules was a young girl in trouble. He offers Jules a place to stay in the room that was recently vacated by his oldest son, Max, and a job in the restaurant. Jules jumps at the change to work in the legendary Greenwich village restaurant and hopes that this is the start of a bright new future.
Six years later, Jules is now a well-respected member of the kitchen and a rising chef on the culinary scene. Max, the lost prodigal son, has returned from traveling the world to help the Lunden Tavern enter the "Rising Star Chef" competition. This competition has put today's hottest chefs competing against one another for prizes and the prominent title that could catapult any restaurant to fame. The family restaurant has been declining over the years and if they were able to take the title of this culinary competition, it would put the once famous restaurant back on the map.
Jules is leading the team for this competition and isn't excited that Max has returned home. Max will be an asset for the team with all his experience studying exotic foods from master chefs across the globe, but his reappearance doesn't come without a price. He has a turbulent relationship with his family especially his younger brother, Danny, that hasn't been resolved since the day he left six years ago. Also, Jules once harbored a crush on the handsome chef, and is hoping those feelings don't hinder their chances for the competition since Max never paid any attention to her when they were younger.
Max agrees to help the family prepare for the "Rising Star Chef" competition under the stipulation that he is only staying for a month since he recently won the apprenticeship with a famous chef in Italy. He and Jules begin the preparation for the grueling competition but their cooking skills aren't the only thing that is heating up the kitchen. Max is shocked to find that the young girl he once knew has grown into a beautiful woman and a talented chef whose skills rival his own culinary expertise. The two become involved in a relationship knowing that things will end in a month, but Max wasn't expecting to fall in love with Jules and question whether or not it is time to finally stay home for good.
This was my first novel by Louisa Edwards and I enjoyed every minute of it. Ms. Edwards creates a world that is so descriptive that you can almost smell and taste the food that these characters are creating. I've been a big fan of culinary novels and I enjoyed the fact that this romance took place in the middle of an exciting culinary competition and had you rooting for the team of Lunden Tavern to make it past the qualifying rounds.
Jules was a delight for me. A young woman fighting to be a chef in the male-dominated world of restaurants and holding her own just fine, was a character that just leaped off the page for me. Max, on the other hand, had to grow on me because in the beginning he came across as an arrogant jerk that only thought of himself, but turned into a caring, handsome man that you couldn't help but fall in love with. There is also another romantic storyline between the "Rising Star Chef" judges, Claire Durand and Kane Slater that I'm looking forward to reading more about in future novels. I loved the supporting characters in this novel, and I understand that this is the first of a trilogy and Danny's story is up in the next novel "Some Like It Hot." The only sad thing about this book is that I have to wait until November to read the next one and I can`t wait to get my hands on it.
When it comes to competitive cooking, Max Lunden is no stranger to winning…though he’s never been great at working with a team. A master chef—and major hunk—he’s traveled the world, picking up new cooking techniques as well as beautiful women. But when the prodigal chef returns home to his family’s Greenwich Village restaurant, he discovers one too many cooks in the kitchen—and she’s every bit as passionate as he is…
Juliet Cavanaugh used to have a crush on Max when she was just a teenager, hanging out at Lunden & Sons Tavern, hoping to catch a glimpse of the owner’s oldest, and hottest, son. Now a chef herself—competing in the biggest culinary contest in the country—Juliet will be cooking side by side with the one man she’s always admired…and desired. But despite their simmering attraction, Juliet is determined to keep her cool—no matter how hot it gets…